De Kock, Amla tons power South Africa to record-breaking win

KIMBERLEY (Agencies): Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla blitzed a century each, became South Africa’s most prolific ODI pair of all-time and scripted their biggest win by 10 wickets in ODI history.

South Africa’s mockery of a 279-run target followed Bangladesh’s own record-setting after they chose to bat in the first ODI.  Mushfiqur Rahim became the first Bangladesh batsman to score a century against South Africa in any format and led his team to their highest total against this opposition. But those efforts barely challenged the hosts.

On a flat track in Kimberley, where anything under 300 was considered sub-par, Bangladesh were at least 50 runs short. Mushfiqur did his bit, but found scant assistance. Imrul Kayes was the only other player to score more than 30 against a weakened South African attack. The home pack were already plagued by absentees through injury and lost a further 65 caps when Wayne Parnell could not be considered for selection after picking up a groin strain. Dane Paterson was handed a debut. It was a baptism of fire for Paterson, who conceded at 7.66 to the over and went wicketless after being tasked with sharing the new ball with Kagiso Rabada.

As the most experienced quick, Rabada took on the task of leading the attack. He produced an aggressive six-over new-ball spell, in which he took 1 for 11 and then returned to take 3 for 25 in three overs at the end. In between that, South Africa’s second-string seamers operated around Imran Tahir, but did not present much of a challenge.

Paterson and Andile Phehlukwayo did not have the pace threaten Bangladesh while Dwaine Pretorius fared decently when replicating Rabada’s short-ball tactics – though he leaned more towards slower bouncers.

While Bangladesh cashed in on the scoring opportunities Paterson and Phehlukwayo presented, they had too few substantial partnerships. Only Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur (59 runs) and Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah (69) sharing in stands of over 50. Even though South Africa did not apply sustained pressure, the incisions they made counted.

After Shakib became the fastest player to the double of 5000 ODI runs and 200 wickets, he fell to crafty captaincy. Faf du Plessis kept a slip in place when Tahir was bowling and Shakib edged a googly into Hashim Amla’s hands. Tahir was effective in the middle overs and made a nuisance of himself to the Bangladesh batsmen.

He had an lbw appeal against Mushfiqur when he was on 41 and tried to run a googly down to third man. Mushfiqur was hit on the back pad flap outside the line and South Africa did not review. In Tahir’s next over, Mahmudullah missed a sweep and was hit on the pad. South Africa reviewed but the impact was outside the line.

Mahmudullah provided one of the highlights of the innings when he charged Rabada and tonked him back over his head for six but the bullishness did not last long. He top-edged a pull off Pretorius and David Miller took the catch to put the brakes on Bangladesh.

Mushfiqur was on 79 at the time and pushed on with Sabbir Rahman at the other end. A six over square leg off Paterson took him past 80, and twin reverse-sweeps off Tahir into the 90s. His century came up with a push through the covers, off the 108th ball he faced. Cameos from the tail-enders took Bangladesh over 270 but not as far as 300, though even that may not have been enough.

De Kock and Amla treated the chase like batting practice and denied their team-mates the chance to experience the same. Bangladesh’s bowlers also seemed to have bought into that mindset, with neither swing nor spin on offer and simply fed deliveries to the opening pair to hit. Rubel Hossain’s first ball was overpitched and swinging in to Quinton de Kock. He clipped it for four and didn’t stop at all from there. De Kock’s runs came mostly through the leg side at first and then shifted all around the wicket. His fifty came up off 56 balls with an inventive flick over his shoulder.

He had been scoring at a similar rate to Amla up to that point but then took more of the strike and accelerated past him. His century came up off 100 balls. Amla’s fifty was off 48 balls but he was happy to let de Kock take centrestage thereafter. A hallmark of Amla’s innings was his ability to rotate strike and prevent dot balls from accumulating. Amla only scored four boundaries in his first fifty runs, and eight in his century. By the time Amla got to his hundred, de Kock was eight away from 150, and had already registered his second-highest ODI score.

Had Bangladesh set a higher target, de Kock may have gone on to surpass his 178 against Australia. To rub salt in Bangladesh’s wounds, they only created two chances and fluffed both. At the start of the 38th over, when Amla, on 94, drove a ball back to Taskin Ahmed, the bowler could not hold on in his follow-through.

Then, with the match all but gone in the 43rd over, de Kock smashed one to Nasir Hossain at long-on. Nasir had to jump to take the catch over his head and could not hold on. South Africa had no problems, other than the fact that the rest of their line-up, which included AB de Villiers on his international comeback and David Miller in his 100th ODI, did not bat.